Dear Christian + conservative loved ones,
I’m trying to figure out how to write this letter to you from a place in my heart that you can hear and stay open to.
I’m worried for the sake of my trans friends. My friends - those who I know and love dearly, and those who I haven’t met - who feel so rejected and unwelcome in this world.
Rejection hurts so badly. Especially when it comes from the people who we need, who we rely on. Many of us know this feeling. It’s old and deep; it happens when we’re young. Parents aren’t perfect - we are all muddling our way through this world with a heavy load - and when our parents don’t know how or don’t have time or energy to meet our needs, it can sting in the deepest place.
This pain is very very difficult to touch. Most of us spend our time and energy avoiding it, feeling that it will drag us down and consume us if we let it rear its head. And we don’t have time for that - we’re just trying to survive and keep our lives together. To do our best. To help out where we can.
But when this dark, cowering monster is unseen, living deep within us, without any care or attention, it impacts parts of our psyche. It becomes a voice in our head that tells us when we are or aren’t worthy of love. When we are or aren’t worthy of acceptance. When we are or aren’t worthy of celebration and embrace.
The message of the Christian religion is that we are all worthy of love. We are worthy of love because God loves us. We cannot be unworthy of love within the embrace of the unconditional love of God.
We each have nuanced perspectives from which we view the world. We each have our own inner demons to wrestle with. Life is full of questions and we must each approach our quest for truth individually.
But one thing is very simple, and you can understand it, if you will take a little time, and make a little space in your heart.
My trans friends in this country are feeling deeply unloved and deeply rejected. They are feeling profoundly afraid. They are being harmed, and being told, in a hundred different ways, that they do not belong here. That they are not allowed here.
My trans friends need you. They need you to travel a little ways into your own discomfort, and to listen to them. They need you to sit within the discomfort of your own gaze at them, and remind yourself that the person in front of you is a full human who God loves, who is worthy of respect, who is worthy of being listened to - really listened to. They need you to intervene within the online and in person spaces you are in where they are being ridiculed and dehumanized. They need you to take the courage to remind your community that trans people exist, that trans people are worthy of love and respect.
Love does not force a person to its will. God does not force us to his will in order to be deserving of love. We should not try to force others into our own will, our view of the world, of gender, of our comfort zone, in order to view them as worthy of respect and love. Jesus didn’t hang the Roman empire on crosses and bleed out their “sins.” He let the nails be pounded into his own flesh and he opened himself up to understanding the pain.
How can we open our hearts to people who make us uncomfortable? Who make us angry? Who, perhaps, make us feel disgust? Fear?
I am opening my heart now in this way, to you. The actions of your community make me feel these emotions (^), often. I hope you are listening to me. If you are, thank you. I love you. I’m here for you as you take courage to speak up in defense of the humanity of all people.
If we can’t find love within the hardest parts of our humanity, what worth does the message of Jesus have?
Thank you for taking the time to read.